Financial TimesFinancial Times

Russian menace brings abrupt end to the west’s ‘peace dividend’

By John Paul Rathbone

07 Jun 2022 · 4 min read

In a reversal of the post-cold war era, Putin’s attack on Ukraine prompts Nato members to spend more on defence “The prospect of a Soviet invasion of Europe is no longer a realistic threat,” George HW Bush proclaimed in 1991 as he announced a 25 per cent cut in US defence expenditure and Russia’s menace dwindled at the end of the cold war.

The then president’s comments signalled the optimistic era of the “peace dividend”. Western governments looked forward to funding priorities other than security, such as health and education or lower taxes, in a period of expanding free markets, liberal democracy and economic globalisation.

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